Gianna was an adventurous woman who loved skiing and mountaineering. She studied medicine in college while also serving others through Catholic Action and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She earned degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949. After opening her own medical clinic she gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor, inspiring her to specialize in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952.
Pope St. John Paul II was well known for having a deep and abiding love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. His devotion to her was evident in all that he did: his teaching, his prayer life, even his papal motto and coat of arms were dedicated to the Blessed Mother. When he was nearly fatally shot during his papacy he credited the intercession of the Virgin Mary, specifically Our Lady of Fatima, with the miraculous save of his life.